Free telehealth services are extended until March so patients can call their doctors from home during the coronavirus pandemic
- In March federal government decided to subsidise telehealth for six months
- The online services will remain bulk-billed for all until 31 March next year
- Coronavirus testing will remain free and so will dedicated respiratory clinics
The federal government will extend free telehealth services so patients can consult their doctors online without meeting face to face.
In March the government decided to subsidise telehealth for six months to reduce the movement of people during the coronavirus pandemic.
The services, including FaceTime GP appointments, will remain bulk-billed until 31 March next year at a total cost of $2billion.
The measure takes federal coronavirus health spending to $16.5billion.
The federal government will extend the provision of free telehealth services so patients can consult their doctors online without meeting face to face
Telehealth services can help slow coronavirus by reducing movement. Pictured: People wait in their cars at a dedicated COVID-19 drive through testing clinic at Victoria Park in Adelaide
Aussies will also be able to access free coronavirus tests, GP-led respiratory clinics, and home medicines delivery.
The telehealth scheme includes services provided by GPs, nursing, midwifery, allied health and allied mental health.
Since March more 10.5million patients have used telehealth for a total of 30million appointments at a cost of $1.5billion.
Three out of every ten GP services are currently provided by telehealth which reduces the unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus and allows vulnerable medical providers to continue providing services remotely.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: ‘By providing telehealth and home delivery medicine services we are reducing the risk of exposure of Covid-19 in the community while also supporting people in isolation to get the care they need.
‘Importantly this also includes mental health services, delivered over the phone, by trained specialists and GPs.
‘As we continue to supress COVID-19 while continuing to open our economy up, Australians can be reassured that we have the world’s best medical support in place to protect their health.’
Labor has been calling for the extension of telehealth for weeks.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the Hunter Business Chamber at WesTrac headquarters in Newcastle on Tuesday